Dr Hilary reveals 'red flag' Strep A symptoms to lookout for in children
6 December 2022, 11:58 | Updated: 6 December 2022, 12:16
Dr Hilary explains the main symptoms of Strep A
Nine children have died from Group A Streptococcal Infection in the United Kingdom this winter.
Dr Hilary appeared on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday morning where he explained to parents the symptoms of Strep A.
This comes after another child died from the disease this winter, bringing the total number of deaths to nine.
Group A Streptococcus is a bacteria sometimes found in the throat or on the skin, and is most common in children aged between five and 15-years-old.
The illness, which is treated with antibiotics, has parents across the United Kingdom worried for their children, especially with flu and the common cold also spreading rapidly at this time of year.
Dr Hilary told Good Morning Britain viewers that this is a "rare disease" before adding: "Whilst it has killed eight [at the time of his appearance on the show] children this season, we always see these complications every year".
He explained that there were four Strep A deaths in 2017, fewer during the pandemic years, and nine this year.
Dr Hilary added that this is partly because immunity has gone down following lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on the show, he said: "It's very, very unusual to see such serious illnesses. It's worth stressing it's rare. The best advice I can give is to be vigilant."
The medical expert said that parents should lookout for 'red flag' symptoms which he explains as the following:
- Severe sore-throat, with white spots on the back of the tonsils
- Large glands in the front of the neck
- Sometimes rash, small red bumps which feel like sandpaper
Dr Hilary also advised people of what to do if they cannot book an appointment for your child with a GP to be diagnosed and prescribed antibiotics.
While people have been told to contact their GP if they are worried about Strep A, staff shortages across the NHS means this is not always possible.
Dr Hilary told people that when contacting their GP surgery they should be assertive and explain the symptoms their child has, and to make it clear you are worried about them.
If you can still not get appointment, and you can't get a reply from 111 in a few hours, he says that parents "only have one alternative, and that is to go to A&E."
He said on the show: "If you can't get that GP appointment, if 111 can't phone you back within a few hours and you're worried, then you only have one alternative and that is to go to A&E."
He added: "I wish I didn't have to say that, I wish GP services were better resourced."